Rhein Stadium and City Guide
It the shining pride of the 99s, the 1899s anyway, the new Rhein-Neckar Stadium in Sinsheim near Heidelberg. This state-of-the-art stadium is home to the 1899 Hoffenheim (Achtzehn 99) men’s league football team, which takes its name from a tiny village suburb of Sinsheim in the Kraichgau region between Heidelberg and Heilbronn below the foothills of the Odenwald forest, south of the Neckar River valley. Sinsheim is best known for the fascinating Autmobile and Technical Museum of Sinsheim which is just across the A6 autobahn from the stadium with giant real airplanes thrust into the sky visible from the highway.
Getting to the Stadium
Though there are a few hotels in Sinsheim, including the Hotel O Sinsheim next to the museum, one is more likely to find lodging in nearby Heidelberg, the historic university city first made famous to American tourists by Mark Twain and later by the American army base and headquarters following WWII. Sinsheim is a twenty minute ride on the S-Bahn train from Heidelberg, or fifteen minute drive on the autobahn with parking at the stadium. The train from Heidelberg stops at the Sinsheim main village station and the next stop of Sinsheim Museum and Stadion. As of this writing the museum and stadium stop is undergoing some improvement to serve the stadium in advance of the summer soccer matches. The station is directly across from the Sinsheim Technik museum and a 15 minute walk under or over the autobahn to the stadium, though shuttle busses should be running for games. A Heidelberg Card transportation ticket covers the route to Sinsheim. With a car there are a number of options for accommodations, including staying in the Necker Valley at a castle hotel (see Castle Hornberg) or the picturesque ancient town of Bad Wimphen.
Things to do in Sinsheim / Heidelberg
Auto & Technical Museum
One of the most entertaining “museums” you’ll find in Germany. Begun as a warehouse for a group of private collectors to store their growing holdings of cars, war vehicles, steam trains and mechanical devices, the museum at Sinsheim has one of the largest assembly of these you’ll find anywhere, two massive buildings and outdoor displays. The design of the technik museum in Sinsheim and its mate, located in Speyer (see Technik Museum Speyer), is intended to keep the young forever fascinated. Where traditional museums are laid out in themes or periods, Sinsheim’s collection mix the endless variety of wonders together so there is always something to grab the attention. The museum has a giant Imax Theater as well. (see Sinsheim Technik Museum)
Sinsheim’s historical significance and lively cultural scene are evident in the many events and exhibitions held there, ranging from jazz and pop concerts to all kinds of performing arts, including theater, cabaret, and literary readings. The village has a modest old town near the railway station with small pedestrian streets of restaurants and shops. The 18th Century half-timber town hall has a small history museum. The village’s most prominent landmark, located on a hilltop outside of town is the Castle Steinsberg of Hohenstaufen dynasty, who ruled the lands around the Neckar during the time of the Holy Roman Empire. The castle is open to the public with guided tours and houses a traditional restaurant. During the summer, castle hosts a variety of cultural events.
Neckar Valley/Castle Road
The valley of the Necker River as it twists through the Odenwald hills is one of the prettiest in Germany, lined with castles along what is called the Castle Road (see German Castle Road). German medieval lords from the order of Teutonic Knights to the iron fisted (literally) Götz von Berlichingen controlled lands with fortereses along above nearly every bend of the river and east all the way to Prague. The hillsides are perfect for wine vineyards with small wineries often connected to the castles and the green woodlands are ideal for cycling. The flatlands around Sinsheim and the Kraichgau is along the Baden Asparagus route, though the prime season for Germany’s ubiquitus white asparugus is in May.
Heidelberg offers a whole collection of activities to explore. The shops and restaurants along the main historic shopping avenue, the Hauptstrasse, from the modern Kaufhof department store with its glass elevator to the top floor restaurant to the Ritter St George (see Hotel Ritter St George) and traditional three hundred year old bars where the students of the university would carve their initials in the tables. Heidelberg Castle is one of Germany most magnificent Medieval and Renaissance ruins (see Heidelberg Castle) with its fascinating Pharmacy Museum with its alchemists lab and the Giant Wine Barrel where the elector would collect his tax payments of measures of wine from the surrounding vineyards. Don’t forget to step in the legendary stone footprint which assures your return to Heidelberg and everlasting happiness. Arrest yourself in the Student Prison and visit the University’s elegantly elaborate Great Hall (see Heidelberg Student Prison) or cross the statue lined old bridge to the Philosopher’s Walk with its meditation inducing Neckar River views. From Heidelberg the wine region of the Palatine is a short distance and the magnificent of spires of the Kaiser’s Cathedral in Speyer (see Speyer Cathedral) is a brief train ride away. © Bargain Travel Europe
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